The assistant secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) for installations and environment (I&E) signed the record of decision (ROD) for the Jacksonville Range Complex Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement (EIS/OEIS).
BJ Penn, assistant SECNAV for I&E, signed the ROD which evaluated potential environmental effects associated with training and research, development, test and evaluation activities (RDT&E). The Jacksonville Range Complex is one of several range complexes on the East Coast.
Signing of the ROD marks the Navy's completion of the Jacksonville EIS/OEIS process. The final EIS/OEIS provides the results of environmental analysis associated with Navy's Atlantic Fleet training; research, development, test, and evaluation activities; and associated range capabilities enhancements (including infrastructure improvements) within the existing Jacksonville Range Complex.
The EIS/OEIS evaluated the potential environmental impacts of three alternatives. The ROD reflects the Navy's decision to implement alternative two, which will increase operational training, expand warfare missions, accommodate force structure changes (including training resulting from the introduction of new platforms), and implement enhancements.
Alternative two also includes the designation of mine warfare training areas in the Jacksonville and Charleston operating areas for enhanced mine countermeasures and neutralization training during major exercises. The Navy will conduct mine hunting and sweeping operations in the same general area used for other major exercise events. The Navy further will conduct mine neutralization operations with explosive in the areas currently designated for underwater detonation training.
Further, under alternative two, the Navy will eliminate all at-sea bombing exercise training events that involve dropping explosive (live) ordnance.
The Jacksonville Range Complex Final EIS/OEIS is one of the environmental documents the Navy has prepared for its range complexes. These documents are part of a $100 million environmental compliance effort which began in 2004 to ensure the Navy has the training ranges it needs to provide combat-capable forces ready to deploy worldwide in America's defense and that the valuable natural resources on these ranges are simultaneously afforded protection.
The Navy must train its deploying forces in the most realistic manner possible. This record of decision will allow us to continue giving the Navy's young men and women the skills they need to be effective in combat.
The ROD, as well as the EIS/OEIS and supporting documents, are available to the public online at http://www.jacksonvillerangecomplexeis.com/.